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Androsia Fabric Factory, Andros Island, Bahamas

Imagine the Bahamas if you will. It's all white sand and aqua water and green palm trees and light blue skies, right?

There are just so many colors on Andros that it's kind of like living inside a kid's painting. Everything looks more vivid and so much brighter than you imagined that it could.

It only makes sense that Andros has its own fabric factory in Fresh Creek and that fabric comes in a dozen crazy bright, beautiful hues.

When I visited Andros Island for a college trip while I was at Clemson University (Go Tigers!), one of the highlights was our factory tour of Androsia. Not only did we get to see how this gorgeous fabric was made, we had the chance to help stamp some of the fabric ourselves!

The factory is surprisingly simplistic for a company that churns out massive amounts of fabric each year. Even more surprising is the fact that every single piece of fabric is hand stamped, dyed, cut, and sewn.

The entire factory is one huge room with separate stations for each part of the production process. The fabric comes into the factory as long strips of white cotton. The women who work there take stamps, dip them into wax, and apply the wax to the white fabric.  They then dip the fabric into the chosen barrel full of dye. The dye will adhere to any of the fabric not covered in wax.

Next, the fabric is removed from dye barrel and hung up to dry. When the fabric is dry, the wax is removed which leaves the pattern white against the darker dyed background. It's called batiking, and it is AWESOME. (Mostly because the process is so basic that I fooled myself into thinking I could do it. let's all laugh together because if I actually tried this, I'd have everything in a 13 foot radius dyed EXCEPT for my fabric.)

Here's the dyeing section. Snazzy, eh?

Look at all of the stamps! Most of them have a tropical theme like dolphins, hibiscus flowers, butterflies, pineapples, etc. However, you can have a stamp custom carved for you with initials or a symbol or whatever you want. 

The fabric is air dryed just outside the factory: it really was amazing how energy efficient the entire factory was!

The last part of the tour took us past the sewing area. You can see all of the different projects that the factory seamstresses were currently undergoing. Sooooo pretty. 

And then, it was time for SHOPPING! There was a tiny little store attached to the factory where we could buy pajama pants, dresses, skirts, drawstring backpacks, shirts, and sarongs. I'm the one with the red bag looking seriously at the skirts!

Once we learned about the factory, we started seeing the Androsia fabric EVERYWHERE on Andros. For example, my hotel room had these cute valances: 

When we all went out to eat one night, a bunch of us wore our Androsia fabric items with pride. Here's (l to r) my sister, our friend Lindsay, and yours truly. Clearly, the Andros nightlife scene was not ready for our awesomeness.

It was so neat to see how much the other residents of Andros embrace the Androsian fabric. We saw clothes and bags made from the fabric in stores all over the island!

I'm happy to say that I've still got my Androsian fabric skirt, and I pull it out from time to time when we've got tropical-themed parties to go to. It's always a conversation starter!

Have you ever taken a textiles tour? Is this something you'd be interested in doing on vacation?